Convergence of government, payers and providers to solve the opioid epidemic

Coming together to break devastating patterns of opioid abuse and overdose

If you had unlimited funding and authority, what would you do to fix the opioid epidemic?

We discussed this question at an executive roundtable event with healthcare leaders representing providers, payers and government agencies. Multiple perspectives are important when addressing the opioid crisis, which is both vast and complex.

Opioid abuse exacts a devastating toll on communities, and there are costly effects for many stakeholders. Here are just a few suggestions, paraphrased from roundtable participants:

  • Encourage multi-modal treatment by physicians and assess prescriptions as they go out.” – Director of quality, health plan
  • Improve access to treatment, especially care delivered by behavioral health providers.” – President, large health system
  • Improve data integration between hospitals and mental and behavioral health providers.” – Director of health services, county government
  • Use predictive analytics to identify at-risk patients earlier.” – Director, state government

Telehealth emerges as critical weapon for public health officials combating the opioid epidemic

Each community is grappling with this public health crisis, and each one has different levels of issues which require tailored, multifaceted interventions. Stakeholders across the community must work together to fully understand the patient experience.

According to roundtable participants, one promising example of collaboration can be found in the community of San Diego, California. Healthcare and law enforcement have partnered to intervene with individuals who suffer with addiction as they interact with the court and prison system.

As community leaders work together to address the opioid crisis, they need data and insights. They need to understand the landscape to design effective local interventions. There was consensus among participants at our roundtable event that what they really need – clinical, claims, social determinants of health data, and pharmacy information all in one place – doesn’t exist yet. Having this capacity, which one attendee termed as “the Holy Grail,” would be valuable to leaders working to solve this incredibly complex issue.

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